A Designs Audio Pacifica Two-Channel Solid-State Preamp
The A-Designs Audio Pacifica harkens back to the golden age of recording, when consoles were spec’d out by studio engineers and custom-built to provide a sound like no other. Designed, built, “ear tested,” and beta tested by long-time recording industry veterans, the Pacifica takes its sonic cues from the mythic Quad Eight console, a recording desk that easily stood toe-to-toe with API and Neve. However, the A-Designs Pacifica is by no means a vintage reissue—it has a sound and character all its own. Said by top professionals to have the depth of a Neve, the midrange of an API and the high- end of a Massenburg, the Pacifica has quickly established itself as the go-to preamp for numerous Grammy-winning and platinum-selling engineers and producers.
In keeping with A-Designs Audio’s mission of sound quality above all, the features of the Pacifica are just what an audio professional needs to record high-quality tracks and no more. Sonically compromising extra switches and components of dubious features are eliminated from the signal path. Plus, with 72dB gain and extremely low-noise operation (-128dB EIN) the ribbon mic-friendly Pacifica ensures clarity and fidelity—whether you’re going for transparency or plenty of punch and character.
Paying homage to the color scheme of the Quad Eight Pacifica console, the hand-crafted Pacifica sports a rich, cream- colored finish with solid-feeling, red metal gain knobs; a red +48V phantom-power push button with red LED indicator—both for easy identification if ribbon mics are involved; plus grey push buttons for phase reverse and –20dB pad—all giving the Pacifica a look reminiscent of California girls, beach boys, and classic Woodies.
It also has two front-panel Hi-Z instrument inputs, but just like a classic Woodie, it’s what’s under the Pacifica’s hood that gives the DIs a special kick. Unlike other preamps, the Pacifica’s DIs are routed through the input transformer, which puts signal through two transformers for added depth and richer tone. And these aren’t just any transformers. Key to the Pacifica’s sound, they’re custom-designed input and output transformers built by Tom Reichenbach of Cinemag (whose father, Ed, built the transformers for the original Quad Eight desks). The output transformers are custom wound and share the same design as those found in the original Quad Eight. Input transformers are pure, proprietary A-Designs.
But transformers don’t tell the whole story. Another key factor to the Pacifica’s sound is its wide-bandwidth design, which ranges from 9Hz to 101kHz with less than 1% distortion. Along with its custom transformers, the linear response down below 10Hz provides the big, punchy sound that the Pacifica has become famous for. It also provides harmonic content well above the range of human hearing, which reduces in-band phase shift for more realism, along with the added benefit of more harmonic information to work with at mixdown—turning your EQ into a creative tool rather than a corrective one. While some may believe the glory days of recording are over, The Pacifica is “living” proof that those days have never left us, and better days are still ahead. Put an A-Designs Audio Pacifica in your rack in hear the difference.
- Two-channel, solid state preamp with two front-panel Hi-Z inputs
- Captures the sound quality of the legendary Quad Eight Pacifica console with even more presence and high-end
- Very warm and full tone without being dark; wide bandwidth with a sweet top end
- Custom-wound Cinemag input and output transformers
- Input transformer: A-Designs proprietary input transformer with unique winding
- Output Transformer: A-Designs proprietary alloy using the same massive design as the original Quad Eight
- 72dB of quiet gain, great for use with ribbon mics
- Unique DI design sends signal through the input transformer for two transformers in the signal path
- Balanced XLR I/O
- Phase reversal (each channel)
- -20dB pad (each channel)
- +48V phantom power (each channel)
- Solid construction, handmade in the USA
- Frequency response: 9Hz-101KHz
- Input impedance: 1500 ohm
- Gain range: 72dB
- Noise (EIN): -128dB
- Phantom power: Switchable 48V
- Mic input phase: Switchable 0 -180°
- Instrument Input Jack 1/4” Phono
- Output: Balanced XLR
- Distortion: Less than 1%
- Power requirements: 100/120/230 VAC – 23W
- Dimensions: 19” x 1-3/4” x 10”
- Weight: 11 lb.
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